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ISSS-BU News 18 March 2013 ISSS-BU News


An electronic news service for international students and scholars, owned by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at Binghamton University, State University of New York

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CONTENTS:
1. Plan Now for Mid-Terms!
2. Pursuit of Academic Success – This Week’s Topic: English Language Proficiency Wednesday, March 20
3. April 1 is the Deadline for Spring 2013 Health Insurance Adjustments
4. ESL Classes for the Fall 2013 Semester
5. Travel Calculator on ISSS Travel Pages
6. Is Box 13 Checked on Your New York State W-2 Form?
7. Forms 1042-S Have Now Been Distributed
8. Important Items to Remember When Completing Income Tax Forms
9. Income Tax Information: How to File an Amended Tax Return

1. Plan Now for Mid-Terms!

It is mid-March and at Binghamton University that means it is also time for midterm exams. In most classes, midterm exams are a major component of your grade. By now you may have already taken your exams.

Sometimes we do well on our exams, other times we do not do as well as we hoped. Even if your mid-term exam grade is not what you hoped it would be, there are things you can do to improve your grade. You are not alone in dealing with this.

A. Meet with Your Professors or Teaching Assistants:

If you are concerned about any of your course material or are unsure of your understanding, ask your professor or teaching assistant for an appointment time. You can then meet with them, ask your questions and come to a better understanding of what is confusing you. Your professors and teaching assistants want you to meet with them if you are struggling with the course material.

B. Work with a Tutor:

Tutors are senior students who have been trained to assist you with your coursework. You can arrange to work with a tutor to improve your understanding of course material by signing up for a tutor’s assistance. To sign up for a tutor you will use a web form at this link:
http://www2.binghamton.edu/clt/tutoring.html

There are Walk-In Tutoring Sessions available for many Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Economics, Writing classes, and many Math classes. Here is the schedule for Spring 2013:
http://www2.binghamton.edu/clt/walk-in-tutoring.html

C. Tips from Successful International Students:

This website provides tips from successful international students to help you survive midterm exams (academically and emotionally!)
http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/getting-good-grades/Surviving%20Mid-Terms.pdf

D. Plan Your Time:

Waiting to the last minute is never a good idea when you need to prepare for an exam. Planning how you will use your time will help you prepare and be less stressed. Plan time for study and schedule breaks, or time for a little fun. Remember, sleep is an essential part of preparing for a mid-term exam!
You can use the calendar function in Google to create a study schedule.

Open your Bmail account, look at the top of the page to find the calendar function.

E. Visit the Discovery Centers:

Below you will find a link to the Discovery Center. If you are an undergraduate student, then at a Discovery Center you can learn about study groups and tutoring services. Don't forget, Binghamton University has many resources for academic support!
http://www2.binghamton.edu/discovery/centers.html

2. Pursuit of Academic Success – This Week’s Topic: English Language Proficiency Wednesday, March 20

Pursuit of Academic Success is to assist international students in maximizing their academic achievement. Participants of this group will discuss barriers to academic success and learn how they can better address them. This group is open to ALL international students!

Week 6 - English Language Proficiency

“I could do much better in school and enjoy my life more here at Binghamton University if only I spoke English better. I would be happier with myself, if I spoke English better. Only if I had better English skillsOnly if…”

Have you ever felt or thought this way? If so, Please join us to talk more about your English skills-related concerns and learn strategies to address them. English language proficiency is closely related to academic success, self-perception and life of international students in the United States. Come and share how you have improved your English skills to help each other.

Facilitator: Sangmoon Kim, Ph.D.
Wednesday: 2:30-4:00pm
Location: ISSS Conference Room, Hinman Commons Building, Room 120-B (come to the ISSS Main Office, for directions)

3. April 1 is the Deadline for Spring 2013 Health Insurance Adjustments

Please note that there is a deadline for requesting a Health Insurance Waiver or adjustment. International students requesting a waiver or adjustment of their international health insurance fee must do so by April 1, 2013 for the Spring 2013 semester. To file a waiver or adjustment request go to: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/health-insurance/waiverinfo.html. Filing a request does not guarantee a wavier or adjustment. You must either be a graduate assistant (G.A.), Teaching Assistant (T.A) or Research Assistant (R.A.) funded through Binghamton University and enrolled in employee health insurance, OR meet the standards for comparable coverage outlined on the ISSS Health Insurance web page located through the above link.

If you have questions about the International Student Health Insurance, please contact the International Health Insurance Team at intl.insure@binghamton.edu

4. ESL Classes for the Fall 2013 Semester

Would you like to take an ESL “C” writing course or an ESL “O” speaking course in the Fall 2013 semester? First you need to take the ESL Placement Exam to qualify for the courses.

The ESL Placement Exam will be offered: Monday, April 18th at 8:30am – 10:30am in Lecture Hall 10.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Director of English as a Second Language, Jennifer Brondell at brondell@binghamton.edu

5. Travel Calculator on the ISSS Travel Pages

Many readers tell the ISSS that the web information on Travel is particularly helpful. Check out the Trip Calculator link. It will provide you with the mileage to your destination and calculate the cost of fuel (gasoline) for the trip. The link also contains some helpful travel tips.

You’ll find it in the travel links section:
http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/travel/index.html#five

The direct link to the trip calculator is: http://www.cheapcarinsurance.net/trip-calculator/

6. Is Box 13 Checked on Your New York State W-2 Form?

Some of our students who are GAs and TAs are completing their NYS income tax forms, and have noted that for some individuals their W-2 forms issued by NYS have box 13 checked "retirement plan." The check box indicates that they are eligible to join the NYS Employee’s Retirement System – it does not necessarily mean that a student has actually enrolled in a retirement plan.

7. Forms 1042-S Have Now Been Distributed

International students who are non-residents for tax purposes, and who were eligible to receive form 1042-S based on either a scholarship or a tax treaty by filing special forms with either Mr. Fred Bucalos of the Office of Human Resources, or with the SUNY Research Foundation Payroll Office should have now received their 1042-S Forms in the mail. If you have not already done so, please use GLACIER Tax Prep to report the income listed on the 1042-S on your tax returns. If you do not yet have a GLACIER account, you may obtain one by following the instructions at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/glacier.html

8. Important Items to Remember When Completing Income Tax Forms

A number of students sometimes forget all of the necessary steps when completing their income tax forms. Here is a helpful reminder for ISSS-BU News readers:

9. Income Tax Information: How To File an Amended Tax Return

Some students have already filed their federal and state income tax returns, only to find that additional income reports for calendar year 2012 have arrived in the mail, either in the form of a W-2 or 1042-S. In such situations, an amended return needs to be filed. The instructions are available at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/taxamend.html

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Last Updated: 3/18/13